Vehicle communication technologies are witnessing exponential growth in recent times, especially given the demand for safety and entertainment
The development of electronics within the various systems of a vehicle too is witnessing an unprecedented rise than ever before. Auto Tech Review met up with Satish Burli, Vice-President, Technology and Solutions, Sasken Technologies, to understand the company’s work around product development of electronic systems in vehicles.
Sasken views IoT from two angles. Firstly, cars get connected to the network, which usually relates to telematics devices that link the vehicle to the network for monitoring various vehicle parameters. The information thus collected can be subsequently aggregated for multiple vehicles that enable an interoperability of things, noted Burli. Sasken plays a significant role in building telematics applications for its customers, both OEMs and Tier I suppliers, with regards to vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity. The market for this type of vehicle IoT solutions is driven by factors related to the commercial and vehicle aggregators’ space.
Secondly, Sasken is also pioneering another concept of IoT along with semiconductor industry leaders, who are essentially driving this technology. The idea here is that cars communicate with each other, and are not just limited to communicating with the infrastructure, Burli explained. This opens up a huge area of innovative applications, with the most primary one being safety, which is a driving factor for this market along with smart city concepts. The company is a part of building the ecosystem for this vehicle-to-vehicle communication along with partners promoting the technology, he noted.
The company is associated with offering solutions to customers to develop infotainment systems. The drive for infotainment systems is stemming from the fact that vehicles are becoming increasingly personalised. There is a growing demand for infotainment systems because customers are viewing it as an extension of their mobile phone as they want to view all they can on their phones on the screen of the infotainment system, noted Burli. The second criterion that has increased infotainment demand is related to the increased usage of applications like navigation, entertainment and vehicle health information for diagnosis. The final push for increased adoption of infotainment systems is coming from the affordability of components to build such systems, thereby bringing in features of top-end systems into cost-optimised solutions for the industry.
Sasken is also working on visual aids for vehicle safety, for which it has developed its own engine for a camera-based visualisation system. This engine takes the video feed from two cameras – one facing forward outside the vehicle and other facing inwards towards the driver. It enables the engine to combine road and driver monitoring in parallel, for a safer driving experience. Like the integration of the two cameras, a trend that is being observed in the automotive industry is in the consolidation of ECUs, noted Burli. This is an ever-increasing feature, especially with the growing number of sensors being fitted into vehicles for requirements of safety and driving assistance.
ADAS, VEHICLE AUTONOMY
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is getting more mainstream, and Burli believes features like lane departure warning, collision warning and blind spot detection will be adopted into vehicles fast. ADAS will grow in the next 10 years in India, and all cars will be equipped with some form of assistance features. Sasken is of the view that some part of ADAS is also built into infotainment systems.
Meanwhile, Burli noted that autonomous driving is a different game altogether. It will have to address the requirements of regulation, government policies, market needs and adopters of such technologies. It will take a long time for automated driving technologies to come to the market in India, with deployment heavily depending on the government push for them.
When it comes to electronics, Sasken works on four out of five automotive areas – infotainment, telematics, ADAS and ECUs – at varying levels of development. The company currently isn’t carrying out any development work in the engine control area. Engine control in the electronics sense refers to complex algorithms specifically meant for braking or changing engine tuning parameters, which OEMs hold ownership of themselves, Burli noted. It is an area that Sasken aspires to grow in the future.
The company is also focussing on forging partnerships with domestic OEMs, especially with regards to localising the features of global development programmes for the Indian market. Sasken has engaged in large-scale discussions with local OEMs, and expects to gain entry into their business, which has traditionally been fixed with a pre-existing ecosystem of suppliers and solution providers. Bridging the gap between additional technologies and low cost acts is an enabler for any company, especially with the requirement to optimise costs and features of top global variants for the Indian market. That experience with global OEMs will help in Sasken gaining business from domestic manufacturers, Burli said.
TEXT: Naveen Arul